The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today the findings of a new study that demonstrates that the state’s high-tech workforce is dramatically larger than previously reported by national rankings. The study shows that the American Electronics Association (AEA) uses a narrow definition of high-tech in their annual ranking, "Cyberstates." The rankings are viewed as critical by the MEDC to changing the nation’s perception of Michigan as a high-tech center.
Under current AEA reporting guidelines, the auto industry is excluded from the data. According to the new MEDC report, which uses the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics definition of high-tech industries, there are 530,492 high-tech workers in Michigan.
"These numbers would move us up from the 17th ranked high-tech state, according to AEA rankings, to the 4th ranked state," said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "Michigan is emerging as the state where info tech is put to work, but our reputation won’t reflect that until all our high-tech workers are counted in these major studies."
The new data, which shows Michigan’s high-tech employment figure at 530,492, is a difference of over 450 percent from AEA’s number of 96,013.
"We initiated this study because we have felt for some time that the auto industry is unfairly viewed as not being part of the so-called ‘new economy.’ While the statistics used by the AEA are based on federal industry codes, even the AEA admits they are outdated," Rothwell said. "If you are a rocket scientist, work in research and development or program computers at General Motors, you don’t count as high tech. That needs to be fixed."
The MEDC study, undertaken with the Michigan Automotive Partnership, also found that 65,674 workers in the auto industry alone are high tech and not counted by AEA, according to the study. In fact, 15.9 percent of auto employment in Michigan at these companies is in high-tech fields, a rate higher than some other industries traditionally considered high-tech. About 79 percent of high-tech employment for GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler is located in Michigan.
"These numbers show that Michigan has the brains of the automotive industry," Rothwell said. "This study proves that this industry and Michigan is one of the high-tech centers of the world."
The study was conducted by the University of Michigan’s Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation.
AEA Ranking of High-Tech Employment
High-Tech Industries Employment, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
3) New York
3) New York
7) New Jersey
8) New Jersey
12) North Carolina
14) North Carolina